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John Efron new Visiting Professor for Islamic and Jewish Studies in Munich

Munich, 04/12/2006

This summer semester, Professor Johnn Efron will join Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich as the Allianz Visiting Professor for Islamic and Jewish Studies. The Allianz Group, a global financial services group headquartered in Munich, initiated the professorship in 2003 at LMU Munich to promote dialogue between Jewish and Islamic cultures. Coming from the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Efron will be lecturing as a guest of the LMU Department of Jewish History and Culture on “The History of the Jews in Eastern Europe to 1939”.

The lecture series begins on April 25, 2006 and will run for the duration of the semester. In his opening lecture on “The Muslim World through German Jewish Eyes”, he will speak about leading central European orientalists in the 19th century who were predominantly Jewish. Their view of Arabic culture was often colored by their own precarious existence in central Europe and personal biographies.

Professor Efron was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1957. He studied history at Monash University, Melbourne, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1979. As a graduate he attended Colombia University, New York, earning a Master of Arts in 1982, a Master of Philosophy in 1986 and a PhD in 1991. In 1992, Efron began teaching at Indiana University, Bloomington. In 2001 he became the Koret Chair in Jewish History at UC Berkeley. His research focus is on the cultural history of modern Jewry, especially in European German-speaking countries. He is also currently researching the role of science in the modernization of Jews, especially in the medical field.

The Allianz visiting professorship

After the September 11th attacks in the United States, the Allianz Group established its Visiting Professorship for Islamic and Jewish Studies at LMU as part of its program of social commitment. The initiative is intended to promote awareness of Islamic and Jewish cultures spheres and to encourage dialogue. Allianz cites its conviction that many current international conflicts are aggravated by a lack of appreciation of cultural difference.

This visiting professorship also represents the first educational program the company has sponsored outside the area of financial services. With the professorship, which is alternately awarded to instructors from Islamic and Jewish studies, LMU Munich can enrich the interdisciplinary network of research and instruction on Islamic, religious and cultural studies and in literary and historical fields.

Interviews
Professor Efron is available for interviews. Please direct enquiries to
+49 89 2180 - 5570.

Contact for questions about the Allianz visiting professorship
Antje Weykopf, Allianz Group speaker
Tel.: +49 89 3800 - 18474
Fax: +49 89 3800 - 2840
Email: antje.terrahe@allianz.de

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